Top 10 signs you’re in a toxic workplace

Toxic workplaces can have an impact on your health: the increased stress of working in a dysfunctional office can lead to job burnout, fatigue, and depression.

For many people, the office can feel like a second home. After all, you spend the majority of your waking hours there. You probably spend more time with your co-workers than you do with your family.

If you’re not happy with your work environment, that dissatisfaction can carry over into your personal life, damaging everything from your self-esteem to your friendships.

Here are some warning signs you may be in a toxic workspace:

  • “You should feel lucky you have a job.” If your boss or the HR at work say words like this to you. It’s their way of exerting control and fear over you, so you won’t leave.  If they plant it in your head enough times you will start believing it.
  • Poor Communication Do you feel like you’re left out of the loop regarding important information? A pervasive lack of communication characterizes most toxic workplaces. You may get little to no feedback about your performance, and when you do, it’s negative and harsh — not the constructive type. You may be doing the work of two, three, or four people, yet it’s not unusual for your boss or colleagues to take credit for your accomplishments.
  • You’ve forgotten what a good leader looks like: An effective leader increases employee morale, resiliency and trust while decreasing frustration, conflict and absenteeism. How does he do that? By ensuring that employees understand their roles and how their work is important to the company. A good leader cares about long-term objectives and gives his employees a sense of vision and purpose. If you’re starting to feel undervalued or like your position is pointless to the company, it could be because your leader isn’t doing his job.
  • You do the work of two or three people and receive little or no appreciation.Coworkers steal your ideas and take credit.Some workers get away with things that others don’t. Bosses or team members deflect responsibility or project blame for failures onto others.
  • Coworkers ask you to cover or lie for them. You are asked to falsify data, reports or documents. A coworker uses sexual favours to get ahead at work.  Someone is having an affair and asks you to lie for them.
  • You or others suffer sexual harassment. Coworkers miss deadlines and affect your productivity. A coworker or boss routinely tells lewd, racist or sexist jokes
  • You or others are at risk because of unsafe conditions. You or others have ever been threatened or assaulted.
  • Coworkers interrupt your work, invade your space and help themselves to your files. Constant gossip, politics or spying.
  • People are considered to be objects or expenses rather than assets, and there is little concern for their happiness or well-being. There’s also little evidence of leaders’ compassion and empathy for employees. As a result, you’ll encounter high levels of stress, turnover, absenteeism, and burnout.
  • That gut feeling is there for a reason, so trust your instincts – if you sense you work in a toxic environment, chances are you do. You might be second-guessing your gut for a numerous of reasons, but if you find the same thoughts happening over and over again, it might be time to examine why that’s happening.


karenKaren is a great listener and a solid shoulder to lean on. She has a degree in History and English and a diploma in Counselling Skills. She struggles with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Depression. She understands the importance of having someone to talk to about your struggles. She loves singing, researching her genealogy, cheering for her favorite hockey teams, swimming, hiking and spending time with friends.

You can follow Karen on Twitter.

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